June 2019 marks the anniversary of a powerful moment in the American environmental movement. 50 years ago, Time Magazine included a story about how the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland had caught on fire. This was not the first time that the river had burned. In fact, it had happened numerous times over a number of years. However, this was really the first time the story had been elevated to the national spotlight. It proved to be a turning point in the way this country thinks about the environment.
WKSU News marks the 50th anniversary with the series, Watershed. The stories dig into current state of not just the Cuyahoga, but two other Northeast Ohio rivers with industrial legacies, the Ashtabula and the Black, and the body of water that ties them all together, Lake Erie. We also look at how the restoration of the Cuyahoga has led to competition between recreation and industry for its use, how a photo helped spur on an environmental movement and whether there’s a new generation to carry on the same spirit of environmental stewardship that was born 50 years ago.